Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Politics

Young's widow says he disliked political funerals

Why did U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's widow, Beverly Young, email Charlie Crist and others instructing them to stay away from her husband's funeral on Thursday?

We thought the bad blood might stem from 2009, when former Republican Gov. Crist held a cattle call of sorts, summoning Young and other potential candidates for Crist to appoint to the unfinished term of U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez. Young showed up in sneakers and a baggy polo, as if Crist had interrupted his lawn mowing, and told a surprised Crist that he had no interest in the appointment.

But late Monday, Mrs. Young emailed Buzz with a more direct explanation:

"BILL SPECIFICALLY said he didn't want his memorial service to be a platform for local politicians to work the crowds. He's right. It's not only wrong, it's disgusting to see that happen. HE GAVE me the names of the people he wished wouldn't show up, that was just three and we both know I don't care about political correctness so I took it upon myself to honor his wishes. I've been at many political funerals and listened to locals standing in groups planning their strategies. God gave people souls, but some don't know to take advantage of that God given gift."

Crist could not be reached for comment.

Mrs. Young said she also emailed Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice and St. Petersburg lawyer Jessica Ehrlich — both Democrats who ran against her husband — telling them they were unwelcome.

Rice to run for Young's seat?

Buzz hears Everett Rice, the former Pinellas County sheriff and state representative, is among the Republicans eyeing a run for the congressional seat long held by the late Rep. Young. In an email response, Rice was noncommittal. "I will tell you that I have had calls about running for his seat, however as a long-time admirer of Congressman Young, I am not going to be talking about who should replace him until after his services and he has been placed to rest. Let's respect the man, his legacy and his family," said Rice, who lost a campaign for sheriff in 2012.

Grayson letter enrages GOP

U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson can't keep away from controversy. The Orlando-area Democrat has caused an uproar over a campaign fundraising letter that compared the tea party to the Ku Klux Klan.

"Ask yourself this: who else in American public life today is as honest and as blunt as this? Congressman Alan Grayson deserves your support, like no one else. He, and only he, is saying the things that you are thinking, and so much need to be said," the solicitation read.

Grayson made the KKK remarks in an interview with Al Sharpton, but the fundraising letter also included a photo of a burning cross. Republicans are aghast.

"Earlier this month, Congressman Joe Garcia made reprehensible remarks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, equating some of his colleagues to terrorists," Florida Republican Party chairman Lenny Curry said. "The Florida Democratic Party stood silent. Now, Congressman Alan Grayson is reaching back into his box of hate-filled rhetoric, bringing up the KKK and images of burning crosses for the purposes of partisan fundraising. This is unacceptable and deplorable. Allison Tant and her party should condemn Congressman Grayson immediately for these disgusting comments."

Grayson did not back down. In a statement he said:

"Regarding the image that the campaign circulated, members of the tea party have engaged in relentless racist attacks against our African-American president. For example, when the president visited my home of Orlando, tea party protesters shouted 'Kenyan Go Home.' " He went on from there.

 
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